By Brian Bullock, Pilot Staff Writer
Brookings-Harbor residents should sleep better knowing their community has never been better protected from fire danger.
That's because both Brookings and Harbor fire departments have recently taken delivery of sparkling new fire trucks.
Brookings' new truck arrived Monday from Oregon Apparatus Sales in Eugene. Harbor Fire Chief Frank Kelly got his new engine May 10. Both fire engines will be on display today (May 25) in the 63rd Azalea Festival parade.
The trucks give their respective fire departments never-before-realized capabilities, both fire chiefs said.
"Our previous truck could only carry four people," explained Brookings Fire Chief Bill Sharp.
"This truck carries eight. So it doubled the amount of manpower we can carry," he said.
It has also improved the department's ability to fight fires. The department's older trucks could only pump 1,250 gallons of water per minute (gpm). The new truck's pump pours out 1,500 gpm and generates electricity while it's doing it, Sharp said.
"This truck is equipped with a hydraulic generator with six plug-ins. When you run the pump, the truck creates electricity for itself," Sharp said.
Those electrical outlets can be used to power a variety of firefighting apparatus, including lighting, although that's not a high priority on the new vehicle.
Sharp said the truck also features adjustable quartz lighting mounted to each side of the truck.
There are also lights mounted underneath the truck that illuminate the firefighters work area.
That pump also can spew out more water than any apparatus the department has ever owned. Sharp said the truck can utilize nine hoses and top-mounted water cannon simultaneously.
The truck also carries 1,500 feet of 5-inch water lines instead of the old 3-inch line. When it is fully equipped, the truck will carry over 2,000 feet of hose.
"We had three hose lines and the (cannon) going Monday night when we were training on it and the pump never got out of idle mode," Sharp said.
"We would have had to subsidize off another truck and a hydrant to get that flow anywhere else."
Two other features the department has never before had on a truck make using and parking the truck easier.
A rear-mounted video camera and microphone allows the driver to see and hear what is directly behind the truck.
The other feature is a hydraulic ladder rack that allows for easier storage on top of the pumper.
Ladder storage is just one of the highlights of Harbor's new truck. Constructed by Western States Fire Apparatus Company of Portland, the new unit's 1,000-gallon water tank was designed to allow inside storage of its ladders.
"We like them better inside," Kelly explained. "They're out of the weather."
The new truck has a 1,250 gpm pump and carries 1,000 gallons of water.
Both of the new trucks are equipped with foam tanks, which is becoming more prevalent in fighting residential fires, according to Butch Clary, assistant fire chief with the Harbor department.
"Foam applications were hand-held before,' Clary said.
"Foam is used a lot more now in residential structure fires because foam attaches to everything where water just runs off," Sharp added.
Harbor's new truck gives the department three identically equipped engines to go with a smaller emergency vehicle.
It's the fifth truck the department has purchased from Western States. Other trucks were acquired in 1959, 1972, 1983 and 1990.
The latest purchase was made possible because the truck purchased in 83 was moved to the Cape Ferrelo station.
"The nice thing about this truck is it's paid for free and clear," Clary said.
Clary said county taxpayers, private donations and "smart money management" by the Harbor Fire Department Board of Directors is to thank for the financing of the new truck.
Similarly, the purchase of Brookings' new truck was facilitated by moving an older unit to the Upper Chetco station.
The city's new truck is a 2002 Emergency-One Typhoon built in Ocala, Fla. The department began saving for years to buy the vehicle.
Cost of the truck is $262,000. Another $65,000 was needed to properly equip the truck.
The Brookings truck will carry the City Councilors in the Azalea Festival parade.
"All emergency vehicles will be flying the American Flag in remembrance of Sept. 11. Both police and fire," Clary said.
In a departure from tradition, the area emergency services vehicles will lead off the parade this year.